So we’ve all heard the word: personas. To the point that it’s almost becoming a buzzword. Even so, it’s hard to know where to get started, and sometimes even why it’s worth doing. So here it is, your guide to getting your personas off the ground, and why they matter, equipped with a user persona template and some other great tools to help you get started!
Personas are a specific overview of who your customers are. From their age range, to their interests, to their buying habits. The fact of the matter is, no matter your product, the decision to purchase comes down to habits, emotional motivations, and reach. When you create user personas, you are effectively creating a content strategy and there are a number of ways this strategy can help your business produce more leads and connect more effectively with your consumer base. Other criteria that make up your personas might be personality traits, frustrations, and education level.
There is no limit to what can go into a user persona and looking at your customer segments from these various angles will only help you in recognizing the best ways to reach them. Buyer personas tell a story and flesh out your potential customers beyond a number or statistic. They provide you with an accurate look at a customer that represents which can be applied to many other people. This is all based on data rather than assumptions you may already be making.
A representation of a particular audience segment for a product or service you are designing – it allows you create an example of the kind of person that might be using your product or service and gives you an overview based on user research.
Create Personalized Content
It’s important to know who you’re targeting so that you can best target your content strategy and also boost your online presence. For example, if you’re putting all of your budget into LinkedIn advertising, but your prospects live on Facebook, you may be missing out completely. Additionally, maybe there is a user persona that lives on Twitter, that hates long posts or messages but prefers a quick overview over a long detailed post.
Wouldn’t that change your strategy? It’s easier to imagine what your target users are looking for after you have a clear understanding of their motivations, habits, and desires. Because personas can help you determine the right type of content to deliver to the right channels, they can also help you make the most of your media channels and potential connections. You might also be able to determine the best times to schedule posts on social media or deliver email messages.
Creating and understanding user personas allows us to focus on delivering the particular type of content that certain groups of people like to see and will connect with. They help us understand our client’s target audience and create a message that resonate with this group. Users are spoiled for choice as far as content and if your message doesn’t immediately resonate with them, there’s a good chance they’ll move quickly onto the next offer. Developing representative user personas will save you from burning connections with irrelevant and unwanted content.
Empower Your Sales Team
Creating user personas can help sales just as much as a good marketing campaign for many of the same reasons. If you sales team sees your target audience and can segment them based on their demographics and the type of content they desire, then they can use language that translates to the consumer and effectively communicate their message. In the end, these personas can also help you understand other aspects of your customers such as whether they can afford products at certain prices.
Serve Your Customers
Through the process of creating user and buyer personas, we are able to better analyze the needs of our target audience and the problems that they face. This will enable your business to stay ahead of the game and better predict what your customers need. Instead of reacting to consumer trends, anticipate them and create a content strategy that will create new leads and keep customers coming back. You might also be able to identify new markets that you haven’t capitalized on through analyzing the personas you create.
Whether it’s design, marketing or sales, having solid user personas can help your team navigate any potential obstacles and make better decisions based on accurate evaluations of your audience. No need to spend extra time re-evaluating analytics when you can access a full picture of your target group through these personas. Having a user persona can also give you a more accessible, practical look at different customer segments than analytics can because you can actually imagine how a person might act based on the insights you have gathered– this information can be easily translated and understood by other people, such as new employees or clients through these personas.
If you’ve made it to this section, it’s safe to assume you’re on board. Great! Let’s get started.
There are a variety of ways to gain solid data on the user segments you hope to create personas for. Useful information about your target audience might also come from market segments that have already been identified, interviews with customers as well as any insights that are pulled from social media channels.
You will want to survey current customers to get the most accurate data possible. While you feel that you may know the answers to some or all of the questions, refrain from answering them yourself. We’re trying to step away from assumptions, remember?
In order to gain a truly representative look at your target audience, it is important to gain real data on your target users. There may be a few outliers in your customer segments that act differently than the group so conducting thorough research into your target group is essential to creating usable personas. While it will be more helpful to develop these personas based on real evidence, you can still try to create personas based on what you already know, coupled with some common-sense assumptions–this may serve as a useful exercise in realizing new ways to reach your audience regardless of whether you obtain new information.
Another way to gain a broad look at your consumer base while developing accurate persons might be to take a look at your client’s or your own brand identity. Re-analyzing your brand and the message that your company is executing might help you understand who is connecting with you and why. If you can objectively evaluate your company’s brand and message, while gaining some solid insights into your target audience then the right way to pivot your message or strategy will seem more evident.
Once you have collected data on your target users, the next step is to identify patterns and commonalities among the members of the group. Remember to keep the data separate by person since you’re trying to create a customer persona as a whole, so do not compile the questions like you normally would with survey responses. If you’re not sure where to get started, begin separating by gender and age range, and then see if you can see patterns across those responses.
Did you notice that a majority of the respondents were extremely similar? Good, this is your primary persona or personas, and the target audience you may want to focus on the most. You might not be able to capture every unique aspect of your target customers but your eventual user personas should give you a better idea of how to reach the vast majority of your audience.
Developing Accurate Personas
You’ve reached out to your target customers and compiled the data, but right now it’s still just data. Now is the time to really paint a picture of who these people are. This is where you tell their story. You might create a story and persona based on different angles such as users’ goals, roles and
Creating a bio for your user persona based on the information you have collected can help you gain an overall look at your customer segment–the more real you can make your user persona, the more useful it will be. For example, you could say “Coupon Carol loves a deal. She tends to have a lot of buyer remorse, so she feels better if she knows that she saved with a coupon or discount code. This also makes her feel accomplished. When Coupon Carol gets a deal that she feels proud of, she likes to tweet out her purchase.”
Developing detailed and realistic bios might help your team put themselves in the shoes of their target users and imagine how they’d like to be reached and the type of content they want to see–after all, the point of these personas is to be able to empathize with segmented groups so that you might better communicate and convert them.
User personas are tools that can be overlooked but their application cannot be understated. They can empower all departments of your business and help ensure that your strategy stays relevant to your users and consumer base. Taking the time to create different personas based on user segments might mean the difference between business as usual and growing your business to the next level.